Ricardo and I were itching to get away so we decided to visit Oahu, Hawaii. This was going to be Ricardo’s first time in Hawaii and I wanted to show him all the best things to do on the island. So we booked our flights and hotel annnnnnd we were off!
The Arrival | Honolulu, HI
As soon as we landed, we dropped off our bags at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani hotel and headed straight for Waikiki Beach. Our hotel was right across the street from the famous beach so we walked over to take a dip and soaked in the sun for a bit. After we finished sun bathing, we thought we could fit in a quick trip to the Pearl Harbor Memorial before dinner.
Pearl Harbor Memorial | Honolulu, HI
Unfortunately by the time we ended up arriving at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, there were no more tours available to see the USS Arizona. But since we were already there, we decided we’d take a tour of the submarine instead. This was actually a super cool (and claustrophobic) tour. We got to go down into the submarine and see what life what like down there. Although it was a fun tour, I was definitely glad to get back up and breathe the fresh air again.
After visit at the Pearl Harbor memorial site, we went back to Waikiki and grabbed some dinner at Foodland. If you didn’t already know, Foodland is a major grocery store in Hawaii that serves the best poke bowls on the island. We took our bowls back to our hotel and ate it while watching some of the summer Olympics. After dinner we spent the rest of the night (and most of the nights) exploring Waikiki’s farmer’s markets and shopping centers.
Kualoa Ranch | Kaneohe, HI
I saw a lot of people talking about Kualoa Ranch while I was looking up things to do in Oahu. I checked it out and knew I really wanted to visit this place and I’m so glad we did. Kualoa Ranch offers many different packages that include options like: atv tours, boating, jungle expeditions, movie tours, and more. The first tour we decided to do was the Ocean Voyage Tour.
The Ocean Voyage tour started off with a bus ride down to a private beach.
Once we got to the beach, we boarded a ferry type boat that took us to the catamaran boat for the Ocean Voyage.
The catamaran boat was so fun to ride in. Ricardo and I stayed on the bow of the boat, in the splash zone, for most of the tour. We got to circle the China Man’s Hat and looked at amazing scenery from the water.
Next up on our agenda was the ATV Tour. We took a 90 min ATV ride all around the ranch. We got to see the famous Jurassic Park sign and some pretty awesome views of Hawaii.
The last stop of the day was a Jungle Expedition tour. We hopped on a huge 4×4 truck and climbed through the jungle. This ride was bumpy and long but really worth it for all the great views. We got to learn about the Hawaii’s culture and it’s sacred gods along the way. We even drove through the movie set of Jurassic World and saw other cool movie locations.
Thanks Kualoa Ranch for an awesome time and amazing service! I would definitely recommend stopping by if you’re ever on Oahu.
Makapu’u Beach | Waimanalo, HI
After our action packed day in Kualoa Ranch, Ricardo rushed me to get ready to go have dinner somewhere on the island. It turned out that Ricardo took me to Makapu’u Beach instead to propose to me. To see how it went down and all the pictures from our proposal click here.
Dole Pineapple Plantation | Wahiawa, HI
How can you go to Oahu and not stop by the Dole Plantation? Yes, we know it’s a huge tourist attraction but we still had to go and get the pineapple ice cream.
We debated if we should go on the Pineapple Express tour for a little while but since Ricardo has never been, we said screw it let’s go! I actually really enjoy riding on the train. It takes you around the whole plantation and gives you a lot of back info on what it takes to produce fruit. The Dole Plantation not only grows pineapples, but lots of other tropical fruit as well.
Outfit: Billabong – Romper
After the train ride, we of course had to buy the famous pineapple ice cream and dried fruit they had at their store.
The Dole Plantation was a great way to start the day and was a short pit stop on the way to North Shore.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck | Haleiwa, HI
The SHRIMP! I had been dreaming about coming back to Hawaii just for this shrimp alone. One of the best things about North Shore are all the mouth watering shrimp trucks around every corner. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is probably the most known out of them all, but all are just as good!
North Shore Marketplace | Haleiwa, HI
After we tore up our plate of shrimp and garlic butter rice, we drove to the famous North Shore Marketplace. I love coming to this marketplace because of the North Shore gifts I could get. I did most of my souvenir shopping for my family at the Quiksilver surf shop in this plaza.
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice | Haleiwa, HI
The great thing about Haleiwa is that everything is within a mile of each other. Matsumoto’s Shave Ice is a must see and eat in Oahu. It is famous for a reason with a line that wraps around the building. The shaved ice is so smooth and the flavors are amazing. I got the green tea syrup with red beans, mochi, and lots of condensed milk.
Oh heyyy Mr. Matsumoto Jr.!
The Banzai Pipeline “Pipe” | Haleiwa, HI
After our glutenous binge on ice cream, shrimp, and more ice cream, we passed by Pipeline. Pipeline is the famous beach where the baddest surfers go to surf the biggest and most dangerous waves during the winter.
Byodo-In Temple | Kaneohe, HI
Driving back down the island, we stopped by the Byodo-In-Temple. This temple is located in a cemetery and might be hard to find at first (we passed it the first time). I had never been to this place and it was such a calming experience. We stopped and appreciated the gardens and the architecture of the buildings during our time here.
Lanikai Beach | Kailua, HI
The last stop on our super packed North Shore day was to Lanikai Beach. This beach is said to be the most beautiful beach on the island, and I have to agree. This beach was perfect. We swam in the water and soaked up the last of the sunshine of the day.
Hanauma Bay | Honolulu, HI
The next morning we woke up and were ready for more! We headed to Hanauma Bay to get some snorkeling in. Hanauma Bay is one of the biggest attractions on Oahu, so with that being said, it’s one of the most crowded places. You have to get to the bay as soon as it opens to get a parking spot or wait around until the later afternoon if you want to park in the parking lot. We got there around 9am and it was completely full. If you get there and it’s full, there’s plenty of parking in the neighborhoods below if you’re willing to walk a little uphill.
Hanauma Bay is one of the best places on the island to snorkel and I would go back every time.
Waimea Valley | Haleiwa, HI
After we spent the whole afternoon snorkeling we went back to our hotel and changed so we could go to Waimea Falls and Farmer’s Market. Waimea Valley is absolutely gorgeous! We decided to walk to the falls to spend time taking in all the beauty and nature.
Outfit: Guild – Off the Shoulder Top | Bullhead – Shorts
Once we reached the falls, we jumped in immediately. Partially because it was so gorgeous but mostly because we were so hot and sweaty from the walk there. If you’re lucky you can catch the Waimea Valley’s farmers market for lots of local snacks, baked goods, and drinks.
The Departure | Zippy’s and Leonard’s Bakery
We woke up the next morning and realized it would be our last morning waking up on the island. We packed our bags in the car and ended our vacation with a Zippy’s combo breakfast meal and a quick trip to Leonard’s Bakery for a malasada before heading to the airport.
Things We Missed Out On (But You Shouldn’t)
- Diamond Head Hike
- Aloha Swapmeet
- Waimea Bay Rock Jump
- Ray’s Kiawe Broiled Chicken
- Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
- Polynesian Cultural Center
- Manoa Falls
Our vacation literally flew by. There’s so much to see and do on the island that a week is not nearly long enough to fit everything in. We were so sad to leave, but we will always hold this trip to Oahu close to our hearts forever. Thanks for joining us on our adventures.